Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A dog in your life

We settled down on our seats in the train. It was a 17 hour journey from Thiruvananthapuram to Madgao. An old man and a lady came in with a 6 month old baby and stacked about ten pieces of luggage under the seat and on the upper berth opposite to our seats. It was a cubicle for four people. Ten minutes before the departure of the train, a couple came in, brought a huge dog inside and made it sit on the seat opposite to me. They were the baby’s parents and the old couple, who had come to see them off, went outside.

I have a very strong olfactory sense and already I was finding it difficult to breathe with the dog’s smell filling up the cubicle. The lady and her husband told me, ‘This dog doesn’t bite madam. Are you a Malayalee?’ I nodded my head. I was literally in shock, thinking how I would be able to sleep with this dog sitting at an arm distance and making it difficult for me to breathe because of its smell. I saw its hair falling, and saliva dripping on the seat.  How could I open my lunch packet with all this around? Just unthinkable! My husband saw my pale face and went out. I prayed that he would be able to find a solution.

The TTE (Traveling ticket Examiner) came in and looked at the dog. “He won’t bite, sir,” the man told.
“You are supposed to put mouth guard for the dog in the train.”
“We didn’t bring the mouth guard, sir”
The TTE went out and told my husband that there was another seat vacant and would ask them to shift the dog. Within ten minutes the dog was shifted and I heaved a sigh of relief.

Dog, a faithful companion

Dogs are undoubtedly faithful companions. Trained dogs are very helpful for blind people. Police departments get valuable service from dogs. Many people love hugging dogs and let the dogs lick their limbs and face.

There are three types of people in India when it comes to attitudes towards dogs. The first category is those who value dogs for companionship. They are especially evident among the elderly and the poor. The second type is those who have affinity for dogs based on religious beliefs. The third type of dog lover is those trying to emulate India’s former colonial masters, the British, whose military leaders “always kept dogs.”

One recent survey found that about half of all dog owners allow their dogs to sleep on the bed with them. A dog’s chance of sharing your mattress depends upon your age and sex. The highest percentage of people found sleeping with their dogs are single females between the ages of 18 and 34. Nearly 6 out of 10 women in this group allow the dog on the bed.

For most people, having a dog in bed is psychologically comforting. The dog serves as a loving companion close at hand, and it keeps you from feeling lonely or insecure no matter how dark the night. The same survey also found that 13 percent of the couples studied included a partner who so objected to the dog being on the bed that it had actually become a point of controversy and emotional strain in their relationship.

Associated problems

Almost 62% of U.S. households have pets, and more than 161 million of these pets are cats and dogs. Unfortunately, millions of pet owners have an allergy (allergic rhinitis) to their animals.

The proteins found in a pet's dander, skin flakes, saliva and urine can cause an allergic reaction or aggravate asthma symptoms in some people. Also, pet hair or fur can collect pollen, mold spores and other outdoor allergens.

Contrary to popular opinion, there are no truly “hypoallergenic breeds” of dogs or cats. Allergic dander in cats and dogs is not affected by length of hair or fur, nor by the amount of shedding.

Most people are aware that allowing a dog to sleep in the owner’s bedroom is not a good idea. We are all aware that doing so may well create many problems. First, we do not know the future so keeping dogs out of all bedrooms is simply a precaution. Dogs that have a drive to increase their position in the family hierarchy will often try to sleep in the master bedroom. There are many cases where dominant dogs have attacked the male owner to keep him out of the matrimonial bed as their dog demands to take on the Alpha male role in the family pack. It may well seem funny seeing a puppy protecting the wife from her husband but when the dog becomes older; such attacks do a lot of damage.

A Washington Post interview with a dog trainer stated that a dog in bed is "a sign the dog is completely in charge. Get the dog off your bed. It can make a bigger difference than anyone can imagine." How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend, the dog obedience manual by the Monks of New Skete, advises letting the dog sleep on the floor in your bedroom, but never in your bed.

Some would want to keep a distance.

There are many people, like me, who would like to keep dogs at a distance. Yes, they are also beautiful creations of God, but so is every living and non living object in this world. It is a personal choice to decide with whom and what one would like to have a close contact.








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